When pregnant, it is important to remember that stress does not only affect you, but your baby. There are unlimited circumstances that can lead to stress. Here are tips on how to help you properly handle them to keep you and your baby safe.
While some stress is a normal occurrence for any one person, it is best to be avoided, especially when pregnant. “When you’re stressed, your body releases hormones like adrenaline and cortisol that prepare the body for the physical exert of fight or flight”. Common circumstance among pregnant women such as physical discomfort, irregular hormone levels, and uncertainty about the future can all lead to stress.
Other Factors that can Cause Stress
- Being a single parent
- Previous negative experiences with motherhood such as miscarriages
- Having an unplanned pregnancy
- Financial difficulties
Unfortunately, when stress levels become difficult to lower, the more likely it is for there to be a decline in your health, developmental problems for your baby such as ADHD or impaired cognitive development. “Chronic (ongoing) … stress can lead to experiencing: headaches, … fast breathing and a racing pulse, … anger, eating problems (too much or too little)…” and more. While some doctors may suggest medications like anxiety inhibitors (preventative chemicals) to treat stress, there are other options.
Exercise: Approximately half an hour of mild exercise several days a week can relieve stress and be beneficial to your body. If you are not comfortable doing full on exercise, stretching can counteract tightness and relieve stress. Be sure to monitor your breathing as you stretch for better relaxation.
Healthy Eating: Keeping yourself and your baby healthy with a well-balanced diet can help release toxins from the body.
Resting: When pregnant, you may experience exhaustion or fatigue. Proper rest can prevent the rise of negative emotions and stress levels. Allowing yourself to get an adequate number of sleeping hours is essential.
Triggers: Learn to identify when stress has become overwhelming. Discovering your triggers can reveal what makes you most anxious while helping you avoid added stress.
*While stress can cause you to become caught up in your thoughts and worries, remember that you cannot forget to enjoy the little things.
- “The 8 Best Way to Relieve Stress During Pregnancy.” Mustela, https://www.mustelausa.com/stress-during-pregnancy. Accessed April 16, 2020.
- “Stress and Pregnancy.” Pregnancy Birth & Baby, https://www.pregnancybirthbaby.org.au/stress-and-pregnancy. Accessed April 17, 2020.